Review of 'Roti King'

A personal favourite

It is easy to find Roti King - Leave Euston Station to the East and turn left onto Eversholt Street. Look to your right and soon as you see a queue on the street you have found Roti King. Not for nothing is this a much sought-out Malaysian restaurant in this unusual location located in the basement of a set of terraced houses never mind in an area where there are no other restaurants. I have tried to visit in the past but gave up after realizing I didn't have enough time to wait for a seat but this time I was prepared, allowing several hours to dine. As it turns out, I did not have anything to worry about.

Seating Area

Showing up at the restaurant there was the normal queue in an area specially for the purpose set up off of the pavement. There were about 20 people in the queue and I dutifully joined at the end settling in for the duration. The sun was out and people were in good spirits so I was happy to wait. About 5 minutes later a server climbs the stairs from the restaurant to the street and asks if there are any single diners. This applied to no one else, but, amazingly, me! So, having queued only a few minutes I was shown to a seat, ok, in the window behind the entrance door with the fire extinguishers at my feet, but hey, it was a seat and it allowed me to take in the whole experience and, after all, I was here for the food anyway. The dining area consists of a small number of tables and a much smaller open kitchen area separated from the diners by a plastic screen. Of course, the place was jammed.

Cooking Area

I was shown the single-sided A4 menu divided into “Roti Canai” (“Two pieces of roti canai served with a choice of kari”), “Murtabak” (“Roti with choice of minced meat filling (including egg and onion) served with dhal kari”), “Rice Dishes”, “Noodle Dishes”, “Sides” and “Deserts”. The “Drinks” section is simply “Signature” (various Malaysian drinks) and “Other Drinks” (tea and softs). The helpful server told me that I was only able to order once - You can't add things later - So I had to pick everything I wanted all at once. I made best of this experience and ordered a number of dishes that came to me one after another, cooked fresh to order.

Nasi Goreng

I have had “Nasi Lemak” (coconut rice with peanuts, fried anchovies, sambal and rice; £9.25) in Malaysia and was not that keen as I found the fish overpowering so I decided to skip this option on the menu and go instead for “Nasi Goreng” (“Stir fried rice with eggs, prawns and chicken (Can be made vegetarian or vegan)”; £8.95). It was absolutely amazing with so much flavour in the rice and large prawns. It was also a generous portion, piled on my plate. The sambal on the side was (spicy) hot but not incredibly so, adding a bit of a vinegary heat that contrasted with the quite sweet/savoury flavour of the dish.

Fried Chicken - Ayam Goreng Berempah

Next up was a bit of a disappointment from the “Sides” section: “Ayam Goreng Berempah” (“Fried chicken with chef's secret spices served with sambal belacan”; £7.95). The chicken was reasonably juicy and certainly had a crunchy crust but there was very little in terms of flavour. Indeed, the fried onions and lemon added most of the flavour to the dish. It was, again, a good sized portion.

Dessert - Kaya

For dessert, having inquired from the server, she said that everyone went for the “Pisang” (“sweet roti with banana”; £4.50) but she suggested her favourite instead: “Kaya” (“Sweet Roti with coconut jam”; £4.95) which was absolutely heavenly. Not only was it using their signature ingredient (roti, prepared by hand by a chef I watched throughout my visit as he worked with the wet, oily dough, slapping it around on the counter before slapping it onto a fiercely hot grill) but it was filled with a delightfully rich coconut filling. Again, another large portion with three on my plate…but oh, so delicious.

View from Seat

Looking up to the street I knew how lucky I was not to have to have queued for a while. I had more time available so I thought about how I might sample yet more options from the menu. I realized the weather was nice and I could eat at a picnic table in the Euston Station forecourt so I asked about takeaway. As it turns out, to order takeaway you can do it online or in advance on the phone or, the kicker, if you are inside eating. So, I placed a takeaway order to add to my bill and was presented with my prize. Having paid my bill I left with the brown paper bag…

Roti Canai - Chicken

You might think I was pretty full by this point and you would be quite right. I did not even mention the cup of tea I had in the restaurant. But, I was so intrigued by the food I could not resist. I sat at a table in the sun to have my final dish, their signature “Roti Canai”, in this case with chicken (£7.95). It consisted of a pile of deliciously delicate and buttery roti, which you can easily tear apart and dip in the sauce which had several big pieces of chicken in it. I have to say I thought the amount of sauce was a bit small, but it was packed with curry flavour which was easily soaked up by the roti.

In summary, I love Roti King. Sure, the customer experience is not great with the long queue and the crammed interior but the food is simply exceptional and the staff are wonderful (despite the “only order once” rule they never made me feel rushed and they were very helpful in describing the various dishes as well as their own preferences). It is the best Malaysian food I have ever had in the UK. I will most definitely be back…particularly if I am in the area for a train…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-10-02

Cuisine: Malaysian

Address: 40 Doric Way, London NW1 1LH ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE London Euston NRLOGO London Euston

Location: London (England) - Marylebone



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 4580 1282